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nis peers, or th: law of the land; and that elec- give us for attempting to save the state. My tions of members to serve in Parliament shall be Lords, I am sensible of the importance and diff: free. (4.) So far is this decision from being culty of this great crisis : at a moment such as submitted to by the people, that they have taken this, we are called upon to do our duty, without the strongest measures, and adopted the most dreading the resentment of any man. But if appositive language, to express their discontent.prehensions of this kind are to affect us, let us Whether it will be questioned by the Legisla-consider which we ought to respect most, the lure, will depend upon your Lordships' resolu- representative or the collective body of the peotion, but that it violates the spirit of the Con-ple. My Lords, five hundred gentlemen are not stitution, will, I think, be disputed by no man ien millions; and if we must have a contention, who has heard this day's debate, and who wishes let us take care to have the English nation on wel to the freedom of his country. Yet, if we our side. If this question be given up, the freeare to believe the noble Lord, this great griev holders of England are reduced to a condition ance, this manifest violation of the first princi-baser than the peasantry of Poland. If they deples of the Constitution, will not admit of a rem- sert their own cause, they deserve to be slaves ! edy. It is not even capable of redress, unless My Lords, this is not merely the cold opinion of we appeal at once to Heaven! My Lords, I my understanding, but the glowing expression have better hopes of the Constitution, and a of what I feel. It is my heart that speaks. I firmer confidence in the wisdom and constitu know I speak warmly, my Lords ; but this tional authority of this House. It is to your an- warmth shall neither betray my argument nor cestors, my Lords, it is to the English barons, my temper. The kingdom is in a flame. As that we are indebted for the laws and Constitu- mediators between the King and people, it is our tion we possess. Their virtues were rude and duty to represent to him the true condition and uncultivated, but they were great and sincere. temper of his subjects. It is a duty which no Their understandings were as little polished as particular respects should hinder us from pertheir manners, but they had hearts to distinguish forming; and whenever his Majesty shall deright from wrong; they had heads to distinguish mand our advice, it will then be our duty to in. truth from falsehood ; they understood the rights quire more minutely into the causes of the pres. of humanity, and they had spirit to maintain them. ent discontents. Whenever that inquiry shall
My Lords, I think that history has not done come on, I pledge myself to the House to prove justice to their conduct, when they obtained from that, since the first institution of the House of their sovereign that great acknowledgment of na-Commons, not a single precedent can be pro.. tional rights contained in Magna Charta : they duced to justify their late proceedings. My nodid not confine it to themselves alone, but deliv- ble and learned friend (the Lord Chancellor ered it as a common blessing to the whole people. Camden) has pledged himself to the House that They did not say, these are the rights of the he will support that assertion. great barons, or these are the rights of the great My Lords, the character and circumstances prelates. No, my Lords, they said, in the simple of Mr. Wilkes have been very improperly introLatin of the times, “ nullus liber homo” (no free duced into this question, not only here, but in man), and provided as carefully for the meanest that court of judicature where his cause was subject as for the greatest. These are unconth tried—I mean the House of Commons. With words, and sound but poorly in the ears of schol. one party he was a patriot of the first magni. ars; neither are they addressed to the criticism tude ; with the other, the vilest incendiary. For of scholars, but to the hearts of free me. These my own part, I consider him merely and indifthree words, “nullus liber homo," have a mean ferently as an English subject, possessed of cer. ing which interests us all. They deserve to be | tain rights which the laws have given him, and remembered—they deserve to be inculcated in which the laws alone can take from him. I am our minds--they are worth all the classics. Let neither moved by his private vices nor by his us not, then, degenerate from the glorious exam- public merits. In his person, though he were ple of our ancestors. Those iron barons (for so the worst of men, I contend for the safety and seI may call them when compared with the silken curity of the best. God forbid, my Lords, that barons of modern days) were the guardians of there should be a power in this country of meals. the people ; yet their virtues, my Lords, were uring the civil rights of the subject by his moral never engaged in a question of such importance character, or by any other rule but the fixed as the present. A breach has been made in the laws of the land! I believe, my Lords, I shall Constitution—the battlements are dismantled — not be suspected of any personal partiality ta the citadel is open to the first invader—the walls this unhappy man. I am not very conversant totter—the Constitution is not tenable. What in pamphlets or newspapers; but, from what I remains, then, but for us to stand foremost in the have heard, and from the little I have read, I breach, and repair it, or perish in it?
may venture to affirm, that I have had my share Great pains have been taken to alarm us with in the compliments which have come from that the consequences of a difference between the quarter. As for motives of ambition (for I must two houses of Parliament; that the House of Commons will resent our presuming to take no- Lord Chatham here refers, among others, to Jotice of their proceedings; that they will resent nius, who had attacked him about a year before it our drring to advise the Crown, and nerer for his first letter. At a later period Junios changed take to myself a part of the noble Duke's insin-beg pardon, by his n..nisters—but I have suf"ation), I believe, my Lords, there have been fered myself to be so too long. For some time times in which I have had the honor of standing I have beheld with silent indignation the arbi. in such favor in the closet, that there must have trary measures of the minister. I have often beeu something extravagantly unreasonable in drooped and hung down my head in council, and ay wishes if they might not all have been grat. disapproved by my looks those steps which I ified. After neglecting those opportunities, I am knew my avowed opposition could not prevent gow suspected of coming forward, in the decline I will do so no longer, bat openly and boldls of life, in the anxious pursuit of wealth and pow. speak my sentiments. I now proclaim to the er which it is impossible for me to enjoy. Be it world that I entirely coincide in the opinion ex so! There is one ambition, at least, which I ever pressed by my noble friend—whose presence will acknowledge, which I will not renounce but again reanimates us-respecting this unconsti. with my life. It is the ambition of delivering to tutional vote of the House of Commons. If, in my posterity those rights of freedom which I giving my opinion as a judge, I were to pay any have received from my ancestors. I am not now respect to that vote, I should look upon myself pleading the cause of an individual, but of every as a traitor to my trust, and an enemy to my freeholder in England. In what manner this country. By their violent and tyrannical conHouse may constitutionally interpose in their de- duct, ministers have alienated the minds of the fense, and what kind of redress this case will re- people from bis Majesty's government-I had quire and admit of, is not at present the subject almost said from his Majesty's person — insoof our consideration. The amendment, if agreed much, that if some measures are not devised to 10, will naturally lead us to such an inquiry. appease the clamors so universally prevalent, I That inquiry may, perhaps, point out the neces- know not, my Lords, whether the people, in de. sity of an act of the Legislature, or it may lead spair, may not become their own avengers, and os, perhaps, to desire a conference with the other take the redress of grievances into their own House ; which one noble Lord affirms is the only hands." After such a speech, Lord Camden parliamentary way of proceeding, and which an- could not, of course, expect to hold office. He other noble Lord assures us the House of Com- was instantly dismissed. It was a moment of mons would either not come to, or would break extreme excitement. Lord Shelburne went so off with indignation. Leaving their Lordships far as to say in the House, “ After the dismis10 reconcile that matter between themselves, 1 sion of the present worthy Lord Chancellor, the sball only say, that before we have inquired, we seals will go begging; but I hope there will not can not be provided with materials, consequent be found in this kingdom a wretch so base and Is, we are not at present prepared for a confer- mean-spirited as to accept them on the condi. ence.
tions on which they must be offered." This It is not impossible, my Lords, that the in- speech of Lord Chatham decided the fate of the quiry I speak of may lead us to advise his Maj. Duke of Grafton. The moment a leader was rots to dissolve the present Parliament; nor have found to unite the different sections of the OppoI any doubt of our right to give that advice, if sition, the attack was too severe for him to rewe should think it necessary. His Majesty will sist. The next speech will show the manner in then determine whether he will yield to the unit- which he was driven from power. ed petitions of the people of England, or main. Lord Mansfield had a difficult part to act on tain the House of Commons in the exercise of a this occasion. He could not but have known legislative power, which heretofore abolished the that the expulsion of Wilkes was illegal; and House of Lords, and overturned the monarchy. this is obvious from the fact that he did not at. I willingly acquit the present House of Com- tempt to defend it. He declared that, on this mons of having actually formed so detestable a point," he had never given his opinion, he would design; but they can not themselves foresee to not now give it, and he did not know but he what excesses they may be carried bereaster; I might carry it to the grave with him." All he and, for my own part, I should be sorry to trust contended was, that "if the Commons had passto their future moderation. Unlimited power is ed an unjustifiable vote, it was a matter between apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it; God and their own consciences, and that nobody and this I know, my Lords, that where law ends, else had any thing to do with it." Lord Chat tyranny begins !
ham rose a second time, and replied, “It plain
ly appears, from what the noble Lord has said, Lord Chatham's motion was rejected; but he that he concurs in sentiment with the Opposi. was sastained in his views by Lord Camden, tion; for, if he had concurred with the ministry, who was still Lord Chancellor, and of course a he would no doubt have avowed his opinion learling member of the Grafton ministry. He that it now equally behooves him to avow it in came down from the woolsack, and broke forth behalf of the people. He ought to do so as an in the following indignant terms: “I accepted honest man, an independent man, as a man of he great seal without conditions; I meant not,
been more fully known, that the King dictated the therefore, to be trainmeled by his Majesty_I
measures against Wilkes. He entered with all the his ground, and published his celebrated eulogium feelings of a personal enemy into the plan of expel. e Lord Chatham.
lling him from the House, and was at last beaten hy This hasty expression 'shows what has since the determination of bis own subjects.
courage and resoluti in. To say, that if the it! I should have to do with it! Every man House of Commons has passed an unjustifiable in the kingdom would have to do with it! Every vote, it is a matter between God and their own man would have a right to insist on the repea consciences, and that nobody else has any thing of such a treasonable vote, and to bring the au to do with it, is such a strange assertion as I thors of it to condign punishment. I woula, nave never before heard, and involves a doc- therefore, call on the noble Lord to declare his trine subversive of the Constitution. What! opinion, unless he would lie under the imputation If the House of Commons should pass a vote of being conscious of the illegality of the vote, and abolishing this House, and surrendering to the yet of being restrained by some unworthy mo Crown all the rights and interests of the people, tive from avowing it to the world.” Lord Mazs would it be only a matter between them and field replied not.”—Gentleman's Magazine for their conscience, and world nobody have any January, 1770. •hing to do with it? You would have to do with
OF LORD CHATHAM ON A MOTION OF LORD ROCKINGHAM TO INQUIRE INTO THE STATE OF THE
NATION, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, JANUARY 22, 1770.
INTRODUCTION. The preceding speech of Lord Chatham, in connection with the decisive step taken by Lord Camden, threw the Duke of Grafton and his ministry into the utmost confusion; and an adjournment of a week was resorted to, for the purpose of making new arrangements. During this time, the Marquess of Granby deserted the administration, apologizing for the vote he bad given for seating Colonel Luttrell in the House, and deploring it as the greatest misfortune of his life. He resigned all his places, except his commission as Colonel. Mr. Grenville, Mr. Davning, the Dukes of Beaufort and Manchester, the Earls of Coventry and Huntington, and a number of others, followed his example. A reconciliation took place between Lord Chatham and Lord Rockingham, and the Opposition was completely organized under their gaidance. It was decided to follow up the blow at once, by a motion from Lord Rockingham for an "inquiry into the state of the nation," which allows the utmost latitude for examining into the conduct of a minister. AC cordingly, Lord Rockingham moved such an inquiry, almost immediately after the Lords again met. Is supporting this motion, he maintained, that the existing discontents did not spring from any immediate temporary cause, but from a maxim which had grown up by degrees from the accession of George III., viz., " that the royal prerogative was sufficiert to support the government, whatever might be the haoda to which the administration was committed." He exposed this Tory principle as fatal to the liberties of the people. The Duke of Grafton followed in a few explanatory remarks; and Lord Chatham then de livered the following speech, wbich contains some passages of remarkable boldness and even vehemenco
SPEECH, &c.' My Lords -I meant to have arisen imme- which ought to have been an era of happiness diately to second the motion made by the noble and prosperity to this country.3 Lord (Rockingham). The charge which the My Lords, I shall give you my reasons for noble Duke (Grafton) seemed to think affected concurring with the motion, not methodically, himself particularly, did undoubtedly demand an but as they occur to my mind. I may wander, early answer. It was proper he should speak perhaps, from the exact parliamentary debate, before me, and I am as ready as any man to ap- but I hope I shall say nothing but what may de. plaud the decency and propriety with which he serve your attention, and what, if not strictly has expressed himself.
proper at present, would be fit to be said when I entirely agree with the noble Lord, both in the state of the nation shall come to be considthe necessity of your Lordships' concurring with ered. My uncertain state of health must plead the motion, and in the principles and arguments my excuse. I am now in some pain, and very by which he has very judiciously supported it. probably may not be able to attend to my duty I see clearly that the complexion of our govern- when I desire it most, in this House. I thank ment has been materially altered ; and I can trace the origin of the alteration up to a period : When George III came to the throne, England
- was in the midst of that splendid career of victories ! This is the topic so powerfully discussed in Mr. by which Lord Chatham humbled the enemics of Barke's pamphlet, entitled, “Thoughts on the Cause bis country, and established her power in every of the Present Discontents," one of the most inge. quarter of the globe. The peace which was mado nious and able productions of that great writer. two years after, under the influence of Lord Bute,
3 This speech, like the last, was reported at the was generally considered a disgrace to the nation, time by a gentlemaan, who is now ascertained to have and from that time dissatisfaction began to prevaj lueen Sir Pbilip Francis.
in all classes of society:
God, my Lords, for having thus long pieserved My Lords, I can not agree with the poule to inconsiderable a being as I am, to take a part Duke, that nothing less than an immediate attack apon this great occasion, and to contribute my upon the honor or interest of this nation can at endeavors, such as they are, to restore, to save, thorize us to interpose in defense of weaker states, *o confirm the Constitution.
and in stopping the enterprises of an ambitious My Lords, I need not look abroad for griev- neighbor. Whenever that narrow, selfish pol. ances. The grand capital mischief is fixed at icy has prevailed in our councils, we have con. home. It corrupts the very foundation of our stantly experienced the fatal effects of it. By political existence, and preys upon the vitals of suffering our natural enemies to oppress the the state. The Constitution has been grossly powers less able than we are to make resist. riolated. The Constitution at this moment stands ance, we have permitted them to increase their violated. Until that wound be healed, until the strength, we have lost the most favorable oppor. grievance be redressed, it is in vain to recom- tunities of opposing them with success, and found nend union to Parliament, in vain to promote ourselves at last obliged to run every hazard in concord among the people. If we mean seri- making that cause our own, in which we were ously to unite the nation within itsell, we must not wise enough to take part while the expense convince them that their complaints are regard- and danger might have been supported by othed, that their injuries shall be redressed. On ers. With respect to Corsica, I shall only say, that foundation I would take the lead in recom- that France has obtained a more useful and im mending peace and harmony to the people. On portant acquisition in one pacific campaign than any other, I would never wish to see them united in any of her belligerent campaigns—at least again. If the breach in the Constitution be effect while I had the honor of administering war cally repaired, the people will of themselves re- against her. The word may, perhaps, be thought turn to a state of tranquillity; if not, may dis- singular. I mean only while I was the miniscord prevail forever. I know to what point this ter chiefly intrusted with the conduct of the war. doetrine and this language will appear directed. I remember, my Lords, the time when Lorraine But I feel the principles of an Englishman, and was united to the crown of France. That, too, I utter them without apprebension or reserve. was in some measure a pacific conquest; and The crisis is indeed alarming. So much the there were people who talked of it as the noble more does it require a prudent relaxation on the Duke now speaks of Corsica. France was per. part of government. If the King's servants will mitted to take and keep possession of a noble not permit a constitutional question to be decided province; and, according to his grace's ideas, on according to the forms and on the principles we did right in not opposing it. The effect of of the Constitution, it must then be decided in these acquisitions is, I confess, not immediate; some other manner; and, rather than it should but they unite with the main body by degrees, be given up, rather than the nation should sur- and, in time, make a part of the national strength, reuder their birthright to a despotic minister, 1 I fear, my Lords, it is too much the temper of bope, my Lords, old as I am, I shall see the this country to be insensible of the approach of question brought to issue, and fairly tried be- danger, until it comes with accumulated terror iwreo the people and the government. My upon us. Lord, this is not the language of faction. Let My Lords, the condition of his Majesty's afit be tried by that criterion by which alone we fairs in Ireland, and the state of that kingdom can distinguish what is factious from what is within itself, will undoubtedly make a very ma. not-by the principles of the English Constituterial part of your Lordship's inquiry. I am not tion. I have been bred up in these principles, sufficiently informed to enter into the subject so and know, that wben the liberty of the subject is fully as I could wish; but by what appears in invaded, and all redress denied him, resistance the public, and from my own observation, I conis justified. If I had a doubt upon the matter, I fess I can not give the ministry much credit for should follow the example set us by the most the spirit or prudence of their conduct. I see reverend bench, with whom I believe it is a that even where their measures are well chosen, maxim, when any doubt in point of faith arises, they are incapable of carrying them through or any question of controversy is started, to ap- without some unhappy mixture of weakness or peal at once to the greatest source and evidence imprudence. They are incapable of doing enof our religion-I mean the Holy Bible. The tirely right. My Lords, I do, from my conConsitution has its Political Bible, by which, if science, and from the best weighed principles it be fairly consulted, every political question of my understanding, applaud the augmentation may, and ought to be determined. Magna of the army. As a military plan, I believe it Charta the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of has been judiciously arranged. In a political Rights, form that code which I call the Bible of the English Constitution. Had some of his Maj
In the year 1768, France, under pretense of a Esty's unhappy predecessors trusted less to the
transfer from the Genoese (who claimed the island),
had seized upon Corsica. General Paoli made a poroments of their ministers; bad they been bet
brave resistance, but was overpowered, and fled to ter read in the text itself, the glorious revolution
England, where his presence excited a lively interwould have remained only possible in theory, and est in the oppressed CorsicansLord Chatham rould not now have existed upon record a for- maintained that France ought to have been resist midable example to their successors
ed in this shameful act of aggression.
view, I am convinced it was for the welfare, for sand men locked up in Ireland, lst the situation the safety of the whole empire. But, my Lords, of his affairs abroad, or the approach of danger with all these advantages, with all these recom- to this country, be ever so alarming, unless there mendations, if I had the honor of advising his be an actual rebellion or invasion in Great Brit Majesty, I never would have consented to his ain. Even in the two cases excepted by the accepting the augmentation, with that absurd, King's promise, the mischief must have already dishonorable condition which the ministry have begun to operate, must have already taken effect submitted to annex to it. My Lords, I revere before his Majesty can be authorized to send for he just prerogative of the Crown, and would the assistance of his Irish army. He has not
ontend for it as warmly as for the rights of the left himself the power of taking any preventirs people. They are linked together, and natu- measures, let his intelligence be ever so certain, rally support each other. I would not touch a his apprehensions of invasion or rebellion be leather of the prerogative. The expression, per- ever so well founded. Unless the traitor be haps, is too light; but, since I have made use of actually in arms, unless the enemy be in the it, let me add, that the entire command and heart of your country, he can not move a single power of directing the local disposition of the man from Ireland. army is to the royal prerogative, as the master I feel myself compelled, my Lords, to returu
feather in the cagle's wing; and, if I were per- to that subject which occupies and interests me mitted to carry the allusion a little farther, I most. I mean the internal disorder of the Con. would say, they have disarmed the imperial stitution, and the remedy it demands. But first bird, the Ministrum Fulminis Alitem.':6 The I would observe, there is one point upon which army is the thunder of the Crown. The minis- I think the noble Duke has not explained him. try have tied up the hand which should direct self. I do not mean to catch ut words, but, if the bolt.
possible, to possess the sense of what I hear. I My Lords, I remember that Minorca was lost would treat every man with candor, and should for want of four battalions. They could not be expect the same candor in return. For the nospared from hence, and there was a delicacy ble Duke, in particular, I have every persona, about taking them from Ireland. I was one of respect and regard. I never desire to under. those who promoted an inquiry into that matter stand him but as he wishes to be understood. in the other House; and I was convinced we had His Grace, I think, has laid much stress upon not regular troops sufficient for the necessary the diligence of the several public offices, and service of the nation. Since the moment the the assistance given them by the administration plan of augmentation was first talked of, I have in preparing a state of the expenses of his Mais constantly and warmly supported it among my esty's civil government, for the information of friends. I have recommended it to several mem | Parliament and for the satisfaction of the public. bers of the Irish House of Commons, and exhort. He has given us a number of plausible reasons ed them to support it with their utmost interest for their not having yet been able to finish the in Parliament. I did not foresee, nor could I account; but, as far as I am able to recollect, conceive it possible, the ministry would accept he has not yet given us the smallest reason to of it, with a condition that makes the plan itself hope that it ever will be finished, or that it ever ineflectual, and, as far as it operates, defeats will be laid before Parliament. every useful purpose of maintaining a standing My Lords, I am not unpracticed in business : military force. His Majesty is now so confined and if, with all that apparent diligence, and al: by his promise, that he must leave twelve thou- that assistance which the noble Duke speaks of,
the accounts in question have not yet been made 5 This refers to an engagement on the part of the up, I am convinced there must be a defect in King, that a namber of effective troops, not less than some of the public offices, which ought to be 12,000 men, should at all times, except in cases of strictly inquired into, and severely punished. invasion or rebellion in Great Britain, be kept in But, my Lords, the waste of the public money Ireland for its better defense.
is not, of itself, so important as the pernicious 6 "The winged minister of thunder.” This is one purpose to which we
is one purpose to which we have reason to suspect that of the most beautiful instances in our literature of
money has been applied. For some years past, rising at once from a casual and familiar expression, which seemed below the dignity of the occasion,
there has been an influx of wealth into this couninto a magnificent image, sustained and enforced by |
try, which has been attended with many fatal a quotation from Horace, which has always been
consequences, because it has not been the regu. admired for its sublimity and strength.
lar, natural produce of labor and industry. The The image of a feather here applied to the King riches of Asia have been poured in upon us, and may have suggested to Junius (who was obviously have brought with them not only Asiatic luxury, an attentive hearer of Lord Chatham) a similar ap- but, I fear, Asiatic principles of government. plication of it to the same personage a few months | Without connections, without any natural inter after, in what has generally been considered the est in the soil, the importers of foreign cold have finest of his images. "The King's honor is that of his people. Their real honor and interest are the
forced their way into Parliament by such a tor same. * * * " The feather that adorns the royal & Much of the wealth which was brought from In bird suppurts its flight. Strip him of his plumage, dia about this time, was used for the purchase of and you for him to the earth.”
seats in Parliament by men wło went out nere ad 'In Jangary, 175€